Tuesday, November 28, 2017

My Celia

One Life, Take Two began on November twenty-eight, two thousand-four, thirteen years ago today, with this post. Enjoy!

It’s been over a year since the break up.

For most of that year, I have hosted sex parties in Manhattan. I suppose I will need to catch you up on how that transpired. I’ve made great friends and lovers at these parties, and yet I haven’t often had the feeling of falling head over heels for someone.

Until my Celia.

I met Celia at a party at my place last spring. She arrived late with a guy who comes sometimes. The regulars were already naked, well fucked and relaxed.

Celia sat on a bed and chatted with us. She was dressed in jeans and a black t-shirt, worn backwards so that the logo was illegible. As we talked, Jane removed Celia’s clothes, and had soon stripped her naked. Jane kissed her torso as Celia leaned back, opening her thighs; we heard her gasp as Jane’s mouth reached her clit.

Being gracious like she is, Jane soon turned and offered me Celia’s body. I set to licking Jane's drool from Celia's labia.

As we fucked, as we did almost immediately, I decided not to stop fucking her. This is not the best form at a sex party, particularly for the host; one really should offer new guests an opportunity to work the room.

I doubt that Celia cared much for etiquette. She had gorgeous hazel-green eyes, focused intently on mine. I kept her gaze, noticing details at the periphery. Celia had a lovely face: aquiline nose, pre-Raphaelite features, framed in long black hair.

I was soon very curious to know more about the woman I was fucking, and so thought maybe we could take a break to chat.

"I would really like to talk with you," I said, meaning "Maybe we can stop and talk."

"Sure . . . what do you want to talk about?" she replied, as if I meant we should have a conversation while fucking. I was willing.

"So, where did you grow up?," I asked. I learned that she grew up in New England, she is an art student, and she would be working on a farm all summer. Within those first few moments, I gleaned that we had art in common, the sex was great, and I wouldn't be able to see her again for months.

I finally let her have sex with some of the others. Later we kissed, as intently as we had gazed. As she left, she stood in the door, giving me long, hungry kisses, as her date waited for her.

As it happened, she had an art show up, and as it happened, I was in the neighborhood the very next day. I was glad to see her art was good.

The summer passed.

Two weeks ago, I got an email from her, saying she was back in town and wanted to return to the sex parties. Cool!

I suggested we get together, and proposed we go check out the new Museum of Modern Art on opening day, as I had special tickets. It turned out she did too.

Later, we learned that the opening day was free to the public. So much for special access.

We decided to meet at an exhibition by Barbara Nitke at Art@Large gallery, get lunch, and see the museum--which we knew would be hellishly crowded. Nitke’s photos have to do with sadomasochism (SM). While not into SM herself, Nitke has an empathic insight into the lives of those who are. There is a strong sense of intimacy and care in her photographs.

Celia was late for our date, which was fine with me. We saw Nitke's work together. Celia says she knew many of the images, having seen Nitke lecture at the Eulenspeigel Society, a New York based organization for those into SM.

(I catalogued those details—Celia already knew Nitke and the Eulenspeigel Society?)

We lunched, and talked about out first encounter. It was her first sex party, she said, and her moment with Jane was her first encounter with a woman. She liked it, but she was taking downers at the time, which she regretted.

I referred to this as a pretty unusual second date. She agreed: first sex, then a lunch date. We were doing it backwards. She says she is surprised that she feels so shy.

She talked about her gaggle of girlfriends, and how she makes nude films of them, but can't imagine sex with them--though she really wants to be bisexual, as it's hip (it is?) and of course, there are more options for sex if you are bi.

She opines that the MoMA is going to be crazy crowded, and maybe we shouldn't go. This leaves her with two hours to kill before her yoga class . . . what can we do? Well, I suggest, we can go to my place and kiss. She looks at me like she can't believe I suggested this. I can't believe it myself--I am really getting bold.

"Okay," she says, "but I really am feeling shy about this. Is it too early to drink? Do you have any bourbon?"

"A girl after my own heart." I actually said that out loud.

Soon, we are at my place, on my couch, sipping bourbon. Soon, we are kissing. Fully clothed. For a long, sweet time.

Soon we are nude, in my bed, kissing. Touching. For a long, sweet time. She is so into gazing, touching, kissing, and I am melting, melting, melting. As the time passes, and her yoga class approaches, I think it will be wise not to start fucking. But I do go down on her. And she cums. And she cums again as I kiss her and hold her very close.

I should mention that she does intense yoga five times a week. And she is a semi-pro athlete. She has a strong, lean body. When she held me firmly, she knocked the breath out of me. Mind you, I was pretty breathless.

I tell her to go, it's time. She declines to leave. We fuck. Like all the foreplay, it's slow, and intense. At one point, I'm on top of her, holding myself up with my arms at full length. She is about to cum. She sits up, putting her arms around my shoulders. She lifts her ass from the bed. She is clinging to me, hanging from my body in air, pushing herself down on me. She cums. I can scarcely believe she made my body work that way.

We are back to kissing, touching . . . she discovered my sensitive nipples, and slowly tortured them. Exquisitely.

I am laying on top of her, tracing a finger along her nose, her lips, her cheeks. I take a breath. "You are really beautiful," I say. "You don't have to be. I would be nice to you anyway. But it helps that you are."

She looks down at me. "Are you bi?" she asks. I say I am. "I do well with the bi guys," she says. Why is that, you think? "Must be my physique," she says, flexing a bicep that would give pause to Charles Atlas.

She said she was hungry. I went to the kitchen and produced Spanish rice, steamed shrimp, and fresh calamari sauteed in garlic. We eat nude.

As we eat, we talk about the Nitke photos. She mentions liking one in which a man is fully bound to a flotation board, adrift in a pool. I say that there was such a sense of risk in that position. She says she likes the feeling of being bound.

I recall how she came when I was holding her, on top of her, as she pulled me closer to crush her.

"I can bind you," I offer. She produces rope and ankle bracelets from her bag, saying they were intended for a possible film shoot later that night. I dig up handcuffs and other stuff. She is soon strapped to my bed on all fours.

I torture her nipples. I tell her I am going to verbally abuse her. "Yes," she murmurs. I ask her why, with all that we've been doing, she has not sucked my cock? "Are you bad at it or something?" I ask. She opens her mouth, wide. I feed her my cock, and fuck her face hard. She can take it very well, so I commend her. Then I slap her for making me wait for that.

We had already established that she is an ass virgin, and so I take her to task for this. How can I let her fuck my friends if she can't even do anal? So I move around and give her a hard spanking. I lick her hole, and blow air in her. She moans. She can't help but fart. I spank her for this, and do it again. "This will burn, but only for a second," I warn. I take a sip of bourbon, and blow it up her ass. I plug it with my thumb, and then a butt plug.

I fuck her pussy.

"Can you take candle wax?," I ask. Never tried it, she mumbles. I drip wax on her back and ass for a very long time. She squirms until I tell her to be still. (Later she asked: was I making too much noise? I can try to be less responsive. Oh no, I say. You did very well.)

In time, I release her and take her to the shower. I wash her body, and flake off the wax. We go back to bed and it's tender again. She falls asleep. I read.

We woke up entangled, touching . . . her fingers are never still when they can be caressing. We spend the morning in bed. There was a joy in this, so palpable, for me at least, that I had to take care lest blurting out, "I am so in love with you."

I had to remind myself, I really don’t know Celia so well. Not yet.

I make her breakfast—bacon, eggs, and her first helping of grits. We were both very sated. We talk about how she just broke up with her boyfriend, and she had broken with her other two lovers in the last month. I say I am hers, when she wants me. Her eyes fix on mine. “That’s right,” she smiles.

My friend Todd calls. He reminds me that we are going to fuck this woman from Texas that night. I had offered to host, and said I would line up some others to join us. I had invited Thomas, that was easy, but I was so busy with Celia all weekend, I didn’t do much more.

I asked Celia if she wanted to do a group thing that night. She pondered it but declined. She was already well sexed. So was I, really.

Around two or three, I kissed goodbye to my Celia. I had a gang bang in a few hours. I would spend that time in the thrall of my Celia, picking up flecks of candle wax, and writing to my friend Dacia about her.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Heard, Not Seen

“ . . . and that’s when Charlie returned the everlasting gobstopper.” I paused for a moment before stepping away from the microphone. That was my story.

Scattered claps gave sway to noisy applause and hoots. I smiled, nodding my head in appreciation.

I returned to the microphone to introduce the next storyteller. I shook her hand as she approached, surrendering the stage.

I made my way through the crowd to join those standing in the rear. People smiled and patted me on my back. I nodded thanks as my mind rehearsed my just-finished performance.

I remembered that I had left out a detail. Once we started talking, Charlie told me that she had been understandably nervous about our first date. She said that when she opened the door nude, she had very nearly closed it again. “Why?” I asked. “Shy?”

“No, because you’re short. Your profile said you’re five nine.”

“I am five nine!” I protested. “It says so on my driver’s license.”

“You’re not five nine,” she insisted. “I’m five nine. You’re five eight, tops. I figured if he’s lying about that, what else might he have faked?”

Taking umbrage at having my honesty called into doubt, I insisted on being measured. I’m five eight. 

It’s a funny anecdote, but I hadn’t been able to fit into my story. I needed to tell it in about five minutes. You learn to let go of some byways.

(Much later, when she first heard me tell the story onstage, Charlie challenged one detail. I had reached out to her after our break, not the reverse. Funny that I remembered it otherwise.)

I had been coming to town each month for nearly a year. Since the summer, I had featured stories of my ongoing struggle as my girlfriend included another man in our relationship. Suddenly, I was dumped in his favor. By this time, my stories had stockpiled into nearly an hour of heartbreak and woe I could refer to as my polyamorous country album. Now, for the first time in months, I had told a story that sounded hopeful about moving on.  

A woman tapped me on the shoulder. “I wanted to say something about your story,” she began.

“Thanks, glad you liked it,” I whispered, pointing to the stage. “But I’m trying to hear this person now.”

“No, I didn’t like it, not at all,” she whispered back. “I think it’s misogynist. My heart went out to that poor woman you silenced.”

“Oh, okay, but can we talk about this later?” I turned back to the show before realizing I might be seen as silencing her. “I do value your input,” I added. “I just need to focus on the storyteller on stage.”

“I understand.” She smiled, again patting my shoulder. “Great show. My first time.” 

I nodded. “Welcome.” Laughter summoned me back to the storyteller on stage.

After closing out the show, I stood by the door to say goodbye and to thank everyone for coming. A sizeable group was heading down the street to a private after-party. I would join them after settling up at the venue.

That task complete, I collected my travel bag and headed to the party. I signed in with the doorman and took the elevator upstairs.  I was greeted with a round of hellos as I removed my shoes. I checked in with people as I poured a whiskey, looking around for my naysayer.

I found her sitting next to a couch, watching as one woman hogtied another on the floor. Both the dominant and the submissive were fully clothed. The dominant was bossy. “Do you like this? I can do anything with you.” Her gagged submissive nodded assent, eyes welling.

“Hey,” I said, squatting nearby. “Thanks again for reaching out to me after my story. What was it you wanted to say?”

She looked over and shushed me. “Please, I need to watch this scene. We can talk after.”

“Sorry.” I stood and pointed toward to the patio. “See you there,” I mouthed. She waved me on.

I was mingling with the smokers when she found me. “Sorry we keep missing each other,” she smiled.

“We meet at last. Sorry to interrupt before, I didn’t get that you were a part of that scene.”

“I wasn’t. I just like to watch.” She paused. “I mean, I watch scenes to be sure they’re safe and consensual. So, anyway, back to your story . . .”

“Yes.” I stood erect. “I’m ready for your critique.”

“Well, like I said, the whole thing just struck me as misogynist.”

“So you said. Why is that?”

“It was just so . . . I don’t know, typical. The man is dominant, the woman is submissive. That situation is so cliché, so inherently patriarchal and demeaning.”

I nodded. “Well, okay, I can hear that. Although it’s not meant as a parable. It’s a true story. It really happened between me and my girlfriend on our first date.”

“I know, I get that. Which is why I’m glad you’re receptive to learning to do better.” She smiled. “It just feels like a lost opportunity, you know?  Here were all these people, listening, and you didn’t say very much about negotiation or consent. Which is so crucial.”

“I’m pretty sure I mentioned that we negotiated everything previously via email. Did I miss that part?”

“No, you did say it, but you didn’t emphasize it enough. You went into it all as a sexy scene, so all these people think that cliché is all there is to BDSM. Man gets what he wants, selfishly, while women are silenced, yet again.”

“Yeah, but, as I said, this scene came from our negotiation. This was what we both wanted.” I explained that communication is very much a part of our respective lives. I’m a storyteller, always sending out words. She’s a psychotherapist, always listening. Silence in our initial scenes became our way of communicating without the continuous presence of talk, and ultimately, it broke down into conversation.

“I understand, but is that really the message you want to give all these people?” she went on. “You had an opportunity to frame this differently and to empower her voice.”

“If this was a class on kink, of course, I might have emphasized the role of negotiation. Now, a good class is generally an hour or ninety minutes. A good story needs the teller to get through a beginning, middle and end in five or so minutes.” I felt like a comedian required to explain why a joke is actually funny. I returned to the central plot of my story. “Anyway, yes, I get that more can be said on the subject of negotiation and consent in kink. In this story, I was concerned with the relationship of two people, myself and my girlfriend. I certainly didn’t mean to diminish her in any way. I hope she comes off insightful and smart, because she is.”

“You say you admire her. Good! If she is so capable, why not let her speak for herself?” She jabbed a finger against my chest. “Give her a voice in her own story. Silencing her is an act of misogyny.”

Someone tugged at my elbow. I took this as an opportunity to extricate myself. “All food for thought. Thanks. I really appreciate you taking the time to share with me.”

“Of course,” she smiled. “We share an educator’s instinct. Let’s all do better.” 

“Thanks again,” I said, turning to my next conversation. “And put your name in the hat next time!”

“Oh, no, that’s not for me,” she laughed. “My private life is private.”

I reflected on our conversation the next afternoon as I took the bus back to New York. The show had gone well. It had felt good to move my monthly stories beyond the installments on hurt and heartbreak to this new direction. I heard good feedback from the regulars, who seemed genuinely happy to see me feeling optimistic. Still, this woman’s feedback bothered me.

Perhaps we might’ve talked more about words and their meanings. I didn’t know her personal background in BDSM—and anyway, as she said, her personal life is personal—but at some level, we had a conversation about words that we may understand differently. I’ve learned to speak in an inherited vocabulary of kink. For example, I initially rejected the commonly used word “play” as entirely too general and infantile.

“Do you want to play?”

“No, I want you to beat my ass until my face is covered in snot and then skull fuck me. I’m not playing. I’m real.”

But over time, I’ve accepted “play” as the word others have chosen for what we all do. I just have to define how I mean it in each instance.

People may want to call me “Sir” or “Daddy” or whatever, and I can either refuse to play along, or I can accept such terms as intended: honorifics that define my role as others understand it. I may be a male “dominant” and my partner a female “submissive,” but this doesn’t mean we accept or rehearse ascribed positions within a cultural patriarchy. These are just the unfortunate words we’re given to describe what we like to do. My partner and I know this. Our understanding of these terms may not be clear to those outside the kink community, or to many within it, but they are clear to us as the primary participants in our own relationship.

It stung to have my story defined as “misogynist.” That’s a strong word. I felt cornered into a defensive posture. If I could just explain what I meant, how my girlfriend and I respected one another, then my naysayer would retract that awful accusation. It mattered to me that she understand my meaning.

I had considered the word “misogyny” to define a fact, as a condition of fixed meaning. A thing either is or is not misogynous according to clearly understood attributes—no ifs, ands or buts.

But in fact, as her use made clear, it is also a matter of opinion. She believed our scene to be misogynous. Charlie and I do not share that opinion.  She was firm and unshakeable in her view. Our shared intimacy is no match for her certitude.

When asked about my shows or my stories, she may dismiss them as misogynous, carrying forward her opinion to be repeated by others until some hear it without question. “Oh, Jefferson? Never heard his stories, but he’s a misogynist.” Hearsay and opinion are readily churned into fact.

Of course, it nettled. People are supposed to like my stories.

I was still pretty thin skinned about bad reviews. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Hawkins, Indiana. November 13, 1984.

Sunday, November 05, 2017


Here’s a dream from last night.

The New-York Historical Society is newly housed in a Mediterranean villa on a hill overlooking a bay. It is a spectacular vista but the scene is chaotic as boxes of collections are unloaded and unpacked with no sense of coordination.  I walk around, looking for a way to be useful in this disorganized effort.

I go in search of my desk and office. I’m directed outside to a garden, set in a series of tiers on the hillside leading down to the water. It’s a lovely walk, lined with blooms and canopies of trees, disturbed by the walls lined with collection items left exposed to the elements. Movers bustle past recklessly adding more and more items. I find my desk, secluded on a brick terrace that would be a relaxing spot to dine but not appropriate in all weather. Taking in the view, I see Shelter Island and beyond that, the South Fork. Shelter Island has been transformed into a kind of visual amusement park, with hologram unicorns jousting and volcanoes spewing rainbows. It’s impressive and I see how this will work with the Society’s new location, but it would’ve been wiser to work out the relocation before adding glitz. 

Unsure what else to do, I search for colleagues in these ad hoc offices. I find my son Jasper sitting in a suit and tie at a desk. We’re glad to see one another. I act as his mentor and suggest that we see how we can help. We walk back toward the villa. Inside, in an open-air veranda, some displays have been placed under cases on a round side table. This looks precarious with all the activity. One items is a multi-faceted mask made of aluminum foil, apparently made by a child. It’s fragile and out of place among collections. I take the mask from its case and ask my eldest son to take it to a secure place and try to learn more about it. I suggest he start with the curatorial files. He doesn’t know what those are and I can’t imagine where to find them or who to ask. He stands holding the mask as I look around.

I spot my mom at a table unpacking boxes. She’s chatty and in a good mood as she hands items over to her friends, who move them to flat spaces. There’s no checklist or order, so I see this process as part of the problem. One of Mom’s friends places an item on the table that had held the mask. The item is tall and weighted so that part of it hangs over the edge and drops below. I intervene to say it is much too exposed. A curator arrives to say it’s fine where it is. She’s calm, assured and authoritative. I’m relieved to find her in charge.  

I take my eldest son, still holding the mask, to show him the Shelter Island display. A crowd gathers as I indicate the surrounding area, saying a few words about the topography. The display isn’t active; I continue to lecture, hoping it will begin as we watch. Afterward, I am alone, taking stock of the collections along the walk. I’m impressed by an automaton created to announce the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. When activated, it mechanically gives the news, intended for a single recipient. Fascinated, I find more such memorial automatons and begin to assemble them into a small display.